Saturday 29 April 2017

VIDEO: Dramatic footage of helicopter crash on banks of Royal Canal

The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent
The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent

Conor Feehan and Emma Jane Hade

CCTV footage shows the dramatic moment a helicopter crashed into a side of a pub before falling onto its side on the narrow banks of the Royal Canal.

The crash occurred yesterday evening at 9.15pm in the village of Abbeyshrule, Co Longford.

The incident occurred beside the Rustic Inn which operates as a bar and restaurant and also provides accommodation along the banks of the canal.

Two people - the helicopter's pilot and passenger - managed to escape the crash without any serious injury.

The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford
Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent
The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent

Gardai investigating the circumstances of the incident have arrested a man in his early 60’s in Dublin this evening.

He is currently detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Longford Garda Station.

Video footage obtained from the scene shows the helicopter hovering above the canal.

It appears to attempt to make a landing before moving away.

The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford
Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent
The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent

At this stage, a passer-by appears and moves a picnic table from the area before he moves away to a safe area.

The helicopter then makes a return to the scene.

It slowly lands on the bank of the canal on the spot where the picnic table was located.

At first it lands in an upright position - however, it then appears to fall on it's side for some reason and hit the wall of a pub.

The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford
Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent
The scene of the helicopter crash in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Pic: Steve Humphreys/Irish Independent

Debris is seen flying into the canal.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the incident.

Speaking to Independent.ie, eye-witness Ciaran Doyle said he was gardening with his father just yards from the scene of the accident when the helicopter crashed.

He said it was very noisy as the helicopter attempted to land on a verge of grass at the rear of local pub the Rustic Inn.

"I said to myself I'll go down to the bridge, have a look because it's hovering down low.

"I watched it hover for five minutes," the 14-year-old said.

The helicopter then moved closer to the building and hit a wooden part of the structure, causing noticeable damage.

His father Padraig also witnessed the accident. 

"At 9.15pm exactly I came to the top of the bridge here to see what was going on. I seen the helicopter hovering over the centre of the canal, it hovered there for a minute before going up and coming back down.

"The helicopter started to edge in sideways by the Rustic Inn, and he came back out. Then he faced into the Rustic Inn. Another neighbour said 'he is going to hit that'," Mr Doyle said. 

Locals have described the "deafening thud" of the helicopter hitting the narrow grass verge on the banks of the canal.

The scene remains cordoned off this afternoon as a "parallel investigation" continues between Gardai, the Irish Aviation Authority and the Aviation Accident Investigation Unit. 

Repair work has started on the Rustic Inn.

It is understood that the helicopter will be removed from the site of the accident later this evening. 

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